Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Spinning Abortion and the State of the Union

(Yes, I know it was two weeks ago, but that coincided with my being blogless and frankly, I thought I'd see this somewhere. I haven't. So, two weeks later, here it is.)
"There are fewer abortions in America than at any point in the last three decades."
Whoever wrote that line was a master. It's masterful spin. Why? Because it provides a nugget of information with NO context and makes it sound like a positive thing, thus subtly underscoring every right-wing argument against Roe v. Wade and in favor of Samuel Alito's confirmation (yes, remember that? Two weeks ago, that was very fresh).

Of course, this information is meaningless. Fewer abortions. Does this mean there are fewer women seeking abortions who are actually getting them? Is the number of pregnancies down correspondingly, or up? How about the number of abortions performed on Americans outside America, have those gone down? Or up? What about women who "decide" to have babies because it's too late to perform an abortion safely, maybe because they were stonewalled, or denied the morning-after pill?

If these numbers mean that more effective contraception is being used, great. If they are a reflection of an eroding right to choose, not so great. Without context for this assertion, it's nothing more than spin, from the President, who spent all of three seconds one of the most galvanizing issues of recent months.

I just thought that should be said. We now return to current news stories, like what the White House knew about Katrina, Tom DeLay's appointment to the committee which will be examining his relationship with Jack Abramoff, and Cheney shooting a guy.

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